Kyrgyzstan violence sends Uzbek refugees to the border
Ongoing Kyrgyzstan violence has sent 100,000 ethnic Uzbek's fleeing to the country's eastern border. The interim government has charged that gangs tied to ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiyev are responsible for starting the fighting.
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Bakiyev to blame?
Bakiyev, living in exile in Belarus, maintains that he is the country's rightful leader. Supporters have occasionally threatened to use violence in his support. His family grew wealthy during his five years in power, so paying for fighters would not be out of the realm of possibility. His power based is in the south, particularly Osh and Jalalabad.Skip to next paragraph
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Orozbek Moldaliev, an analyst at the Sedep Research Center in Bishkek, says he believes Bakiyev's "circle" was involved with starting the violence but that, from his perspective, it's petering out.
"I think the conflict is not as active as it was and is acquiring a local character," he says. "The public is participating in solving the conflict, youth organizations and religious leaders are participating in talks, and popular diplomacy is working."
Sanobar Shermatova, who covers Central Asia for Russian news agency RIA-Novosti and is now in southern Kyrgyzstan, says she's convinced events were not spontaneous. "Young people from mountain villages were recruited and there were some criminal elements involved," she charges. "All these events were well prepared."
What is clear now, say analysts, is that the unrest will reverberate beyond Kyrgyzstan's borders.
"These events will have a negative influence on the stability of the region," says Zharikhin Vladimir, deputy director of the Commonwealth of Independent State's Institute at the Russian Academy of Sciences. "The likelihood that Kyrgyzstan will disintegrate has grown considerably."
Mr. Vladimir says that trouble in Kyrgyzstan can reverberate far beyond its borders. "South Kyrgyzstan borders Uzbekistan and the border of Afghanistan is nearby. The region is a knot of nerves for the whole of Central Asia."
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